London startup: YPlan, the going-out app

It’s been a busy year for the team behind YPlan, the spontaneous activity planning app that won the entertainment category at the 2013 Appsters awards. Since launching in London in November 2012, the app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times. Having closed a $12 million Series A funding round this June, the startup recently expanded to cover New York—and don’t expect it to stop there.
Rytis Vitkauskas, who founded YPlan in 2011 with fellow Lithuanian Viktoras Jucikas, told us more about his experience of building the company over email. He explains the idea for YPlan came when he and Jucikas were looking for “something cool and unique” to do one evening, but couldn’t find anywhere offering last-minute tickets. “What we realised then was that there was an opportunity for a business to help people in the same situation we were in,” he says. YPlan curates a selection of events each night—such as gigs, films, and parties—and lets the user buy tickets directly through the app. 

In addition to a clear demand for the service, Vitkauskas puts the app’s great success down to the company’s way of working. “Firstly, YPlan is full of incredibly hard-working and smart people who have experience from top companies like Time Out, toptable, GetTaxi and so on. So the team is the most important thing,” he explains. “But also, our approach is very nimble and data-driven, so we test a lot to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

He says it made sense to kick off in London first because of the city’s vibrant night life. “Londoners are spontaneous, keen to find the coolest events happening around them, and always open to trying new ways to find those events,” he says. “And of course, there are a lot of iPhones around, which definitely helps if you are starting a mobile commerce business on iOS!” (The app also launched on Android last month.)

Vitkauskas now has his sights set on expansion to other cities, but remains full of praise for London’s entrepreneurial spirit. “London’s startup scene is a fantastic place to be at the moment,” he says. “More people than ever are taking the plunge to start new businesses in mobile commerce, online retail and fintech, which means that the scene is going from strength to strength and rivalling other global hot spots for tech startups.”

By Vicki Turk (on Twitter here)

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